States of Poetry 2016
—for Vera Pavlova, in Mexico City
On the bus to Teotihuacan, we turn
a new god's name on our tongues
like a charm, jagging past
chocked over the motorway,
grey pixels stacked so high they merge
with the smoked white Mexican sky—
then a guitar player in the aisle
begins a song whose only familiar
Bebop sparkplug spurred in withershins,
loop-de-loop interloper, he hop-steps
ravines of bark, shirking faultlines,
going solo, headstrong, scion of impatience,
juddering like the stalled engine
of prop-plane on tundra runway, skirting
and skimming up, peeling out,
reeling in spiral, spy, scout, prematurely
thrusting into the unknown, Magellan
You tilt lapis to your lip –
a day light as wicker.
By the water, bullrushes bow
into sailboat blue, lace-necked
egrets fossick and pick,
and the elements rearrange
a goliath heron's skull to mud.
Up on the embankment
a crouching child scratches
his name into a temple wall.
Ultramarine, lapis lazuli—
Right at the back of the world's yard I am sitting. I have nothing.
I had a stone but lent it to the poet to put in his shoe. No sooner
did he turn into a slim golden feather that flew straight to the
sun that fed the snakes new skins. It could as easily have
resulted in ripe figs resting in baskets or unruly persimmon
trees twirling in fogged mountains. Regardless ...
Above us we hear the windmill yelping, circling like a trapped
dog while the house sits like a black skull on the hill. Above us
the tombs are rising from their rest and travelling along the
roads beneath trees turning sourly. Above us the wind flings
uncountable seed into the dignified light tossed through the
depths by a green moon rolling over and over in the sh ...
Time falls out
of your house
and onto a slab
of lucerne which
the cows eat as
they wander away
from the orchard's
long flowing hour.
Sweet and full
of wild honey
is the flower
is the bird.
Part of your love
is timeless enough
says the little track
left by ants.
The correct way to drink from a broken cup.
To welcome both dark and light into your house.
To imagine tomorrow.
To pick verbena and red clover.
On the path where nothing will grow.
The correct way to tend the frozen.
To take their sweet throats and swim down into their livers.
To disembowel without touching.
To do what is at stake.
To move from c ...
Moon is a paper lamp
burning all night.
is full of shadows.
Hardly room in here
with the cupboard's coat.
Small broken windows
open dream's row.
The wild birds
all leave my mind at once –
mouth banging shut
in the dark.
'The grass is full
of blue free stars.'
The universe jus ...
The things us Murri blackfellas have to go over in life's
Futures is hard.
Love's gone bad and less money and work.
This easy going one got the flour tea sugar our mothers and fathers worked for.
We were black men before the lot say, Ah ah, what's colour got to do with it?
Well the light comes from the dark.
May our babies never forget the black men who washed clea ...
Beyond a man's face stands a skilful
Command of changes
Beyond a woman's face stands a weep
Over the sweet peace beauty
Borrowed emerging naked rage
Made these times emptiness
Being at the advancing haunts came
The hunter's stamping leaps ...